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The Whirlpool Series

A monthly series of gigs for recent London jazz graduates at the Vortex. 

Newly graduated jazz musicians may be overwhelmed at how to take their first independent steps as professional musicians. To help with this we at the Vortex are delighted to announce the Whirlpool Series, a monthly series of gigs showcasing new music by recent graduates. Giving chances to develop a bit faster.

The series takes its name from the tune (and album) by John Taylor, one of the leading jazz pianists and educators this country has produced. It has been set up in collaboration with the course heads from the three main London colleges: Nick Smart at Royal Academy of Music, Matt Skelton at Guildhall, Hans Koller at Trinity Laban.

We are very excited by the imagination and energy of this first ‘cohort’. The final shape of the series is constantly evolving, and developing in collaboration with the musicians involved. A panel of six curators, two from each college, is programming the nights. To encourage the creation of new connections, both professional and musical, each gig will involve musicians from the three colleges, collaborating on new music. We expect this programme to grow, and in the future we want to also offer mentoring, streaming and more, helping the graduates to market both themselves and their music.

The first gig, on 3 October, presented the music of the selection of the curators. These are:
Rebecka Edlund (Trinity Laban)
Marta Gorniztka (Guildhall)
Jakub Klimiuk (Guildhall)
Alex Lockheart (Royal Academy of Music)
Kasper Rietkerk (Royal Academy of Music)
Caius Williams (Trinity Laban)


The London Jazz News review, by Sebastian Scotney, wrote about the first night in October:

“The first night of the new ‘Whirlpool Series’ showed above all the levels of collective and collaborative musicianship and ‘instant composing’ being reached by four of the graduates who have just emerged from the London conservatoires. Their ability to co-operate and dovetail with each other to create something new – particularly considering the four had never met before – and the way they were able to create flow and to tell a story together was nothing short of astonishing.”


Full review:


And here is an extract from the first meeting in October:


Oliver Weindling, Director of the Vortex (and founder of Babel Label) says:

“The Vortex has always encouraged new music and younger musicians. We have high hopes this programme will accelerate the scene in London, bringing new audiences to the wonderful music that will be created. The series is also helped by the positive attitude of the musicians in helping shape Whirlpool’s final structure.”




Biographies of the curators


Rebecka Edlund
Rebecka Edlund is a Swedish singer and composer who was a pupil of Lauren Kinsella and Tom Challenger at Trinity College of Music. Rebecka started out in the world of Scandinavian folk music, studying traditional Swedish singing and herding calls. She has since then fallen in love with the combination of jazz and folk music, whale singing, bird whistling and other strange, beautiful sounds.

As a result of Whirlpool, she has been working under the auspices of  on the new video podcast, “The Tea Hive”.

Marta Gornitzka

A Polish-born vocalist who has been resident in London for several years. Her own vocal approach blends the Great American Songbook with vivid improvisations and more than a nod to her East European musical heritage. Big hearted and always looking at new ways of bringing new music to the public


Jakub Klimiuk

A guitarist born in Poland,  Jakub is an adventurous composer and an improviser who also has extensive experience working as a side-man with various artists and projects, including prominent figures like Krystyna Stańko or Jonas Kullhammar. In his work, Jakub is focused on blurring the lines between genres and experimenting with musical forms. He keeps in contact also with the scene in his home country, such as attending the prestigious Wytwornia summer school.


Alex Lockheart

Orginally from Southampton, guitarist Alex Lockheart studied at Royal Welsh Academy in Cardiff and then at Royal Academy of Music. He has a distinct musical identity combined with a virtuosic approach to the instrument and an unparalleled energy that can be seen on every live performance. Alex takes influences from New York scenes such as the music of Wayne Shorter, Gilad Hekselman, Matthew Stevens and Walter Smith III’s ‘In Common’ and from Arron Park’s ‘Little Big’ to Joao Bosco, Pedro Martins all the way back to London from the likes of Rob Luft and Femi Tomowo. Some of his live highlights include playing at The Vortex, Bimhuis, Boomtown Festival and Greenman Festival.


Kasper Rietkerk

Award-winning saxophonist Kasper Rietkerk worked with Eddie Chacon, John Caroll Kirby, Ben Nobuto, Jean Toussaint (among others) and he is part of the Emma Rawicz Jazz Orchestra. He did several tv and radio performances and took part in writing the music for VPRO’s television series ‘Naar Bed’. In 2023 Kasper and his band KRSIX played several gigs in the UK, where Kasper is based, and in the Netherlands, where he is originally from. With his Dutch group Das Sound Kollektiv, Kasper released two albums and an EP of which they got most ‘successful’ with their ‘+1’ release.
He has now started programming the weekly jazz gig at the Parakeet in Kentish Town.

Caius Williams
Bassist Williams is a local of Hackney who has been coming to the Vortex since aged 12! In recent years, he has created his own large ensembles such as the 14 piece ‘Thread’ (  He programmes regularly a series at Avalon in Bermondsey, where he has invited musicians from the complete spectrum of jazz. His mentors are Tom Herbert (known for his role in bands such as The Invisible and Polar Bear) and saxophonist Tom Challenger.



The Vortex is one of London’s leading clubs for jazz and related music. Founded in 1988, it puts on 6-10 concerts a week, at its base in Gillett Square, Dalston. It is one of Downbeat magazine’s “Leading Jazz Clubs in the World”, and has been winner of both the “JazzFM Venue of the Year” and the “Parliamentary Jazz Award”.

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